- Movie Name:Kabir Singh
- Critics Rating: 3 / 5
- Release Date: June 21, 2019
- Director: Sandeep Reddy Vanga
- Genre: Romantic Drama
It is not goodbyes that hurt but flashback that follows, Kabir Singh's dad (Suresh Oberoi) tells his young son, who is trying to recuperate from alcoholism and heartbreak. Director Sandeep Reddy Vanga's Kabir Singh is the story of a jilted and irascible surgeon, who chokes himself with desolation after separation from his lover. Shahid Kapoor plays the titular role in this intense romantic drama, which is scene-to-scene, actually, dialogue-to-dialogue replica of its original, 2017 Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy.
You can question the need for such a remake in the time when Arjun Reddy is available on OTT. Those who have already watched and loved Vijay Deverakonda and Shalini Pandey's romantic film might not react to Kabir Singh in a similar way, but those who have managed to avoid Arjun Reddy despite the impressive buzz around it are likely to fall for Shahid Kapoor starrer. Two reasons behind Arjun Reddy gaining cult classic status among movie-goers were Deverakonda's restrained performance and Vanga's raw writing and honest direction. It was the execution of this simple love story and subtle acting skills of the actors which made Arjun Reddy excel among other romantic movies. Trust us, Kabir Singh is not much different.
Shahid Kapoor sinks into the teeth of Kabir Singh taking us deep into his desolated world of alcohol abuse and anger issues. The taut direction and writing by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, who also directed the original, works in the favour of Kabir Singh. He is well aware of the essence of the story and skillfully replicates it for the Hindi audience.
Kabir Singh is the story of a young medical student, who leads himself to the path of self-destruction after getting separated from the girl she loves (Kiara Advani, Preethi). The unacceptable way in which rebellious Kabir behaves with his brother, grand-mother and even his girlfriend while being angry seems straight from the heart. Needless to mention that anger has been treated as a character in the film. There is one thing our leading man cannot compromise with and that's his sincerity. Kabir is dangerously honest even in the most difficult situations of his life. Being such free-spirited is not good in democracy, says a character expressing his concern about Kabir's outspoken behaviour. He is a womanizer constantly looking for girls who can help him 'physically'. He is brash, alcoholic, drug addict and what not but still you don't hate him. However, you don't even feel pity for him. You just want to accompany him on his journey of pain. Adding to that, even while Kabir is immersed himself in alcohol and substance abuse, he is well aware that it is just a phase and will soon pass.
Kabir Singh is imperfect and raw but that's the beauty. It portrays different shades of emotions from rage to love and you feel every bit of it. The tone and setting of the film are real and the credit has to be given to dialogue writer. Whether it is questioning the validation of relationship that comes with marriage or his rant to a friend on PMS, the dialogues aren't fancy and made up. Though it is an almost three-hour-long heavy romantic drama, you don't feel the burden of it. You rarely lose your grip as the screenplay keeps you engaged. Also, there are situational comic reliefs flawlessly woven into the scenes. One thing that can really make a romantic film work is good music and Kabir Singh excels in this field. Music is soothing and strikes a chord with heart.
Talking about the acting, Shahid Kapoor is the lifeline of Kabir Singh. Even when he switches on his beast mode, you don't want to hate this stubborn lover. Whether it is expressing madness, love or angst, his restrained performance makes him shine. Kiara Advani as a meek girl doesn't have much to do but she speaks volumes with her eyes. A special mention to Kabir's best friend Shiva played by debutant Soham Majumdar, who has put life into his character. His bromance with Kabir is the icing on the cake.
Having said that, what doesn't work in favour of Kabir Singh is its predictable nature. You know what you are going to be treated with at the end, however, you enjoy the process. Though the director has retained all important elements and emotions of the original film, it is not as good as Arjun Reddy. Kabir Singh focuses more on its leading man's downward spiral in life rather than the romance part. If we compare it with Arjun Reddy, the scenes portraying budding romance between the lead pair have been abruptly edited giving a sense of incompleteness. Some will also find the portrayal of Kiara Advani's character Preeti as problematic. She doesn't have much to do in the film except silently following Kabir. Also, a couple of scenes from the original including the one in which our hero gives an earful to someone talking ill about the air hostess have been left out.
Kabir Singh is more of a character's journey than a love story. It is thoroughly enjoyable, however, you can skip it in case you have watched the original.